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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Police (10/12/06)

TITLE: Stitching Pieces
By Pat Guy


She dropped the envelope like a burnt match and stared at it among the red grit on her stone floor. It can stay there as far as I’m concerned. Let the dog get at it. I don’t care. She turned her back on the Government Notice from India Affairs and walked over to the front window.

Tessa pulled back the curtain scanning the street as far as she could see in each direction. There were too many people mulling about to pick out who was surveilling her house today. No … wait, there was someone across the way looking in her direction – just standing there. How blatant they have become! Why? Their eyes met. She turned and looked at the envelope. ‘Oh no.’ she sighed. ‘This is it.’

Down through the years, God directed her path to various Children’s Ministries, but homeless street children were her passion, and it seemed He had finally worked out a way for her to live out her heart’s desire. Surely she hadn’t misunderstood. A warrior’s heart beat deep in her soul for children.

Tessa reluctantly picked up the envelope. Might as well get it over with.

Dear Tessa Giles,

It has been brought to our attention you have been unlawfully conducting group instruction in your home with children under the age of sixteen.

We have several documented incidents of this activity in the past eight months and request your attendance at the next Council meeting scheduled for the first Tuesday of next month.

Please refrain from any and all activity involving children until we can further instruct you of your status as a Visiting Goodwill Ambassador.

Lt. Prakash, Rajan
India Affairs
Special Force

Tessa’s heart quicken with alarm at the threat to her work. Surely God will work out something.

Chechi Tess! Chechi Tess! Shirt … dry…’

Tessa smiled and motioned to the table, ‘Time to eat!’

The kids loved to help around the house as much as they loved to eat. They never seemed to get enough! Tessa busied herself with refills of tea, sandwiches and attention, but she didn’t mind. It felt like heaven to help these children – and more came to her house each day. I wonder how long I can claim them as domestic help? It was the one loophole she clung to.

There was a knock at the back door.

She rushed to open the door expecting another child but there stood a man in uniform looking down at her startled face. Her warrior’s heart kicked in and she was able to stand her ground by not immediately asking him into the house. Instead, she asked, ‘Do you have any identification sir?’

Well acquainted with danger, the children shot out the front door.

‘I am Lt. Santosh, Suresh. I have been assigned to investigate allegations of child endangerment.’ he said as he showed her his badge, identification and documents. ‘Get packed.’

This time she couldn’t hide her shock. ‘I just received a notice … I … I …

The government official took a step towards her and she instinctively moved back – a mistake, for he was now in the house.

‘Get packed or go as you are – it makes no difference to me.’

God? How can this be? You wanted me to come here! These children! God? What’s going on?

The next few hours were a blur for Tessa.

Through the maze of official jargon, angry gestures and signed documents she despaired at their twisted reasoning.

They didn’t care if their children were hungry. They didn’t care if their children slept on streets and were ill. They didn’t care if their children suffered the pain of abandonment.

What they did care about was the ‘endangerment’ to their religious beliefs. They didn’t want this next generation influenced by any other ‘god.’

She had no defense – they no longer trusted her.

She was to leave the country.


A lift off that began a fifty-nine hour flight home, also began a spiral she could barely control. Her Bible lay opened upon her lap; each verse, each promise, stitching back together pieces of her life – a life weary of waiting.

‘Chechi? Um … sit? Um … please? Here?’ a young lady spoke as she tried to get Tessa’s attention.

So engrossed was Tessa in her own troubled thoughts, she almost responded without thinking.

She looked up and smiled into liquid dark eyes.

‘Erunnu kollu.’ she said as she gestured toward her seat.

Another piece … another stitch.

Author’s note:
South Indian language – Malayalam Region
Chechi - is the proper approach for addressing an older woman.
Erunno kollu – is the response for ‘Yes, you may.’

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This article has been read 1346 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Laurie Glass 10/19/06
You took us into the heart of a genuine servant. So sad, but realistic I'm sure. I like pieces with emotion and this one has that.
Amy Michelle Wiley 10/22/06
Powerful story. There were a few spots that I stumbled over, but this was a great entry!
Venice Kichura10/23/06
This was powerful--held my attention!
william price10/23/06
Nice piece, Pat. I could tell you have a heart for your subject. Its more than just writing when your heart flows thru your fingers onto the keyboard. God bless.
Cassie Memmer10/24/06
This reminded me that one sows, one waters, but the Lord gives the increase. Tessa planted seeds. This is a heart wrenching story, children hungry for truth, and adults more interested in being 'right' than finding that truth. Thanks for the reminder to pray without ceasing for the children.
Donna Haug10/24/06
Powerful! We don't understand all the ways of God, but in all things He is working for our good and the good of those around us. Great story
Jan Ackerson 10/24/06
Good job, Pat! The "stitching" motif is very effective--I'd like to see it occur a few more times throughout the story. I really like the way you brought us into your protagonist's spirit.
Betty Castleberry10/25/06
This is heart wrenching, and told like the master you are. Very nice!
Sara Harricharan 10/25/06
Was slightly confusing at first, but made more sense when I read it over. Very deep writing, excellent storyline.
Donna Powers 10/25/06
Extremely well written and it definitely touched my heart. Thanks so much for sharing the story of this precious saint.
Beth Muehlhausen10/25/06
What a great glimpse into the heart of one who serves others' hearts so willingly/sacrificially. This makes me think the author must also be such a giving individual. :-)
Lynda Lee Schab 10/26/06
Pat, Very well done! Creative and captivating. I agree with Jan about weaving the "stitch" theme throughout to bring it together in the end. But other than that small thing, I loved every word. Wonderful writing, as always!
Suzanne R10/26/06
This is great, Pat. Perhaps one tiny thing that held it back as far as the challenge is concerned is that the topic, 'police', wasn't really the star of the piece, although it was a significant part of it. However, that doesn't hold it back from being an excellent piece of writing in the slightest ... and that it is. Well done.
Val Clark10/27/06
I love the way that you have portrayed your character, feisty and protective of her 'children' questioning and depressed when sent away. YOu take her through really human emotions and at the end give her and us hope. Just a few comments, burning mathc would have made more sense that burnt match and watch openoing and closing speech marks.
Val Clark10/27/06
Blast I meant to spell check that and then sent it, but pressed the bar instead! Grr. Sorry about the proliferation of errors.